More needed to stop cattle disease - MEC

2015-01-01 16:01

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Johannesburg - Further action is needed to prevent an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the Umkhanyakude district, northern KwaZulu-Natal, provincial agriculture MEC Cyril Xaba said on Thursday.

"I think we have lifted our foot from the pedal and we need to continue to apply pressure," he said in a statement.

This week, Xaba visited various projects in the largely rural area aimed at helping keep the infectious disease, which affects cloven-hoofed animals, at bay. A number of the projects were experiencing delays.

"Umkhanyakude was hard hit in 2011 when the outbreak of foot and mouth disease restricted the movement of cattle from the area to other abattoirs in the country," said Xaba.

Final decision

At the time, a ban was placed on exports of South African red meat and other cloven-hoofed animal products, costing the country R4bn a year in revenue.

In February last year, the ban by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Organisation on Animal Health was eventually lifted. However, in early 2015, the OIE will review the situation before making a final decision.

Xaba visited a R70m abattoir now only expected to be completed by April 2016, following delays in meeting environmental impact guidelines on waste disposal.

Xaba also visited a 108km-long fence being built to separate the Ndumo and Tembe game reserves from other land in the area.

"This is to help monitor and control the movement of livestock."

Community meeting

There had been delays in completing the R65m fence, apparently due to difficulty transporting materials to some inaccessible areas. It was expected to be completed by February.

The fence is one of the conditions the OIE requires to ensure the final removal of the ban.

Xaba visited sites where dip tanks were being built and areas where local people had been breaking down the fence at the Ndumo Game Reserve in order to plough on the land.

"Local councillors expressed their frustration that very little had happened so far in this regard [to stop the practice]."

Xaba said government was looking to involve a number of departments in addressing the issue and working more closely with local residents.

At a community meeting, residents told Xaba that stricter border control with Mozambique was needed since cattle were straying into this country.

Read more on:    durban  |  animals  |  foot and mouth disease

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